Saturday, 19 November 2011

Tips from Maria Elkins

I just love this quilt! Perhaps it's because I have two red headed daughters. It's called 'Windblown'. I came across a photo before we went to the Houston show and I emailed Maria to ask permission to post about it. When Maria emailed back and generously agreed, I took the opportunity to ask a few questions:
"I am interested in how you went about making the quilts. What sewing machine do you use? Are you using a frame or sitting down at the machine? What threads do you like? What would be you best tip to someone starting out? Is there someone particular who inspired you? Do you have a fine arts background?"
And much to my delight Maria replied:
"Yes, I have a fine arts background. I took art and drawing classes in junior high and high school. I went to college and was an art major with an emphasis in textiles. A year after I got married, I dropped out of college,we moved, and we had kids. Twenty years later, I went back to college to finish my fine arts degree, but this time with an emphasis in printmaking. (The second college didn't recognize fiber as fine art.)"
"Embrace 1" is based on a series of woodblock prints that I had done in college. As a result, the quilt version is just an experimental piece for me. I wanted to play with an image that was a bit more abstract."
"Windblown" is a hand painted, wholecloth quilt of a young lady who I've known since she was 7. In the background, I really wanted to focus on wind-like fantasy feathers."
"I use a Janome 6500. I do not use a frame. I sit down when I quilt. I mostly use Superior Threads. I like using silk thread when I quilt faces. I love using variegated threads when I quilt hair."

"I think beginners should give themselves a break. So often, I hear "I can't___" when they haven't even tried. It's okay to try something and then throw it away if you don't like it. Remember, many of the skills related to quilt making require a lot of practice. I learned to use a sewing machine when I was 9, and I've pretty much sewn non-stop since that time. I learned to free motion quilting on baby quilts that I gave away. That's a great way to learn the skill."
"In the early 1990s, I was first exposed to art quilts through various quilt magazines. In particular, I remember seeing Charlotte Warr Andersen's quilts, and knowing that I wanted to combine my love of drawing people with my love of sewing and quilting."
Wow! I am so inspired! These quilts were even more spectacular in person! Both quilts were listed as finalists for the 2011 Houston Quilt Festival."Windblown" won the Fairfield Master Award for Contemporary Artistry Follow the link to get a peek into the awards evening!

Thank you Maria!!

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